Tighter Covid-19 restrictions will come into force in County Donegal in an effort to stem rising levels of coronavirus.
The Irish cabinet agreed to move the county to level three restrictions from midnight on Friday until 16 October.
The new rules are based on recommendations from public health officials at the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
Donegal was previously on level two of the country’s five-level alert system.
introduced in Dublin last week in one area.
Pubs that do not serve food will be allowed to stay open, but will only be allowed to serve a maximum of 15 people and they must be seated outdoors.
Level three restrictions
People will be discouraged from leaving Donegal unless for essential reasons.
They are again being asked to work from home where possible and only to make essential journeys on public transport.
Visitors to private homes and gardens should be limited to a maximum number of six from one other household.
There are to be no organised indoor gatherings and outdoor gatherings are to be up to a maximum of 15 people.
‘Very worrying data’
Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin said the government had “no choice other than to act and to act decisively” as the seven-day incidence rate of the virus in Donegal is double that of any other county outside Dublin.
Mr Martin said it was not the fault of any one individual or community and that no stigma could be attached to being a “victim” of the virus.
“This virus doesn’t care who you are or where you are from, it just wants to spread”, he said.
Mr Martin said that additional support would be put in place for businesses affected by the decision.
On Thursday, Ireland’s Department of Health reported three coronavirus-related deaths and 324 new cases of the virus.
Forty-two of the 324 new cases notified to the Ireland’s Department of Health are in Donegal.
The 14-day incidence of the disease in the county has risen to 122.5 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 106.2 from Wednesday, the sharpest jump recorded by any county in the country.